The first step is always the toughest. You are not sure how to start, who to talk to, or how to find out. You don’t want to waste money or time making the wrong decisions, but you have never done this before. So how do you get started?
The first step in the construction process is to do some evaluation of needs, goals, and resources. How much space do you need? What is working now and what needs to be better? How fast do you need the work done? How much money do you have to accomplish your goals? What is a must have and what can you give up? You will almost always need someone to help align these goals once you know what your specific goals are and sometimes you need help setting the specific goals. There are no wrong answers, but there are almost always answers that work better than others. It is very important to start with a good foundation to get a good project.
Once you have started the evaluation process you probably will need some professional advice. Meeting with an architect is a good starting point as they go through this process everyday, they know who to talk to, and they know who you can trust. A lot of firms do not charge for this initial consultation as this is the conversation the professional needs to establish scope of work. I have had many conversations where this has resulted in designing a home / renovation and many conversations where I have sent potential clients to better resources than I could provide for the services that were needed.
The first step is always the hardest to take when making major decisions. Trust is the most important element. Do some research, verify your goals, decide what certifications your professional needs to have, and ask lots of questions. Building and Renovating can be a lot of fun, a little stressful, and often results in dreams being fulfilled.